Richest NJ Neighborhood Fights Plan for Low-Cost Homes on Toxic Dump

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Town cites environmental impact and has proposed other sites.

May 28, 2024
Nacha Cattan - Bloomberg

Josh Bauers has long had his sights set on the town dump in Millburn.

Bauers wants to put 75 affordable apartments on the site where piles of Styrofoam and food scraps lie in heaps.

But that’s a bridge too far for many residents of New Jersey’s richest ZIP code, Short Hills, where multimillion dollar Tudor and colonial-style mansions are perched atop grassy hillocks less than an hour’s commute from Manhattan.

Many in the community, favored by finance types and lawyers, are up in arms over the development’s potential effect on the environment and its highly-rated schools. But the years-long fight to put affordable housing in the town has become about far more than that, and has raised accusations over inequality and race.

Millburn Township, whose largest community is Short Hills, may be forced to build on the dump after a state court ruled last month that it will decide where the development will go. The town had agreed to build on the polluted site three years ago, only to backtrack.


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